Muscle relaxant (injection) for treating lines and wrinkles
A specifically chosen, injected muscle relaxant relaxes muscles and reduces their mobility. This procedure has long been used to treat spasms in the facial muscles, such as eye twitches or muscle tension in the neck. It has been used cosmetically to treat lines on the face since the 1990s. Correctly administered, it gives patients a rejuvenated appearance without the discomfort and cost of cosmetic surgery.
Unlike the muscles in the rest of the body, the majority of our facial muscles lie just below the surface of the skin. They allow us to make facial expressions, which in turn create the pattern of lines on our faces. Whilst certain lines only appear when we make facial expressions (e.g. laughter lines) and are a sign of our individuality, others do not fade with our expressions and have a negative impact on our appearance (e.g. frown lines or crows’ feet).
This latter type of line is often caused by increased tension in specific facial muscles. Injecting a muscle relaxant reduces this muscular tension, leading to the lines partially or fully disappearing.
This treatments work best on lines found at the root of the nose or on the forehead, outer corners of the eyelids, mouth and neck. Unattractive neck bands (platysmal banding) can also be successfully treated. The treatment is, however, not suitable for wrinkles caused by loose or excess skin. Here, injectable fillers are the treatment of choice (see fillers).
The effects of muscle relaxant injections generally last between four and six months. To achieve long-lasting results, it is recommended that a follow-up treatment is given as soon as the effects begin to wear off (after approximately three or four months). By following this advice, the gap between subsequent treatments can be extended.
The injections do not cause any more pain than an insect bite and can be administered as an outpatient procedure. Patients are able to return to work immediately after treatment. As long as the injections are given by a specialist doctor, the procedure currently carries no known significant risks. The improper injection of muscle relaxants can, however, lead to unfavorable results which have the potential to remain visible for months.